Three Gratiot County communities have formed a public transportation authority and are now looking to pass a millage in the Nov. 3 general election to operate it.
Pine River Township, along with the cities of Ithaca and St. Louis are asking voters to approve a five-year, 0.96-mill levy that would provide funding to become part of the Alma Transit system.
The millage would raise $117,000 a year in Pine River, $72,000 in Ithaca and $51,000 in St. Louis.
Alma has had a similar levy in place for a number of years that funds its Dial-A-Ride bus service.
Currently, St. Louis has a contact that pays Alma Transit $10,000 annually to prove some service to city residents.
Pine River was paying $2,500 a year but that only covered a small portion of the township between Alma and St. Louis.
If the millage passes it would provide the same level of service to the three municipalities that Alma residents receive.
Rider fares would also be the same.
For the levy to pass, however, voters in all three jurisdictions must approve it.
If it’s turned down by any one of them then the millage fails and public transportation services will not be offered.
After discussions regarding a countywide transit system broke down last year, Pine River, Ithaca and St. Louis decided to move forward on their own by forming the authority, which was approved by all three municipalities in July.
Prior to that, Alma Transit had commissioned a postcard survey, conducted by Alma College professor Dr. Ben Peterson and his public policy class, of randomly selected residents in the three communities.
It found that the majority of respondents in Pine River, Ithaca and St. Louis would support a public transportation millage.
If the levy is approved in all three communities it would cost the owner of a $100,000 home, with a taxable value of $50,000, an additional $48 a year in property taxes.